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the republican leader in the senate, mitch mcconnell, made an offer. that ended when harry reid said he could not present a counterproposal. in a hail mary, mcconnell phoned for help. >> i placed a call to the vice president to see if he could help jump start the negotiations on his side. i want everyone to know, i'm willing to get this done. but i need a dance partner. >> reporter: white house officials say vice president biden is now playing a direct role in the talks. the two parties remain at odds over the automatic, across the board cuts to government programs. there's divide on taxes. the white house wants to raise tax rates on people making more than $250,000 a year and republicans want to keep the estate tax from going up. >> if we're not able to reach an agreement, it will be dire. >> reporter: if there's no deal today, the average american family will start the year with a $3400 tax hike. paula and john? >> tahman bradley reporting live from washington this morning. thanks, tahman. happy new year to you. >> reporter: same to you. >>> the president called the shooting at newtown was
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